The Democrats debated last night. Or maybe I should say that Clinton and Sanders debated last night since the only other person on the stage, Martin O’Malley, seemed to disappear at times. For the most part, it was what you’d expect: more spending, less freedom, more power. But there was one particular bit that infuriated me. It was from that canker sore, O’Malley:
The things that we need to do in our country, like debt-free college in the next five years, like making universal — like making national service a universal option in order to cut youth unemployment in half in the next three years, all these things can be done if we eliminate one entitlement we can no longer afford as a nation.
And that is the wealthy among us, those making more than a million dollars, feel that they are entitled to paying a much lower marginal tax rate than was usual for the better part of these 80 years.
You read that? You see what O’Malley did there? He claimed that paying a marginal tax rate less than 90% is an entitlement. That wanting to pay less in taxes isn’t a political disagreement or even greed. It’s entitlement.
As a matter of mathematics, O’Malley is full of it. The higher marginal rates of the 20th century came with numerous loopholes so that no one really paid the 90% top rate except maybe John Rockefeller. When Reagan cut tax rates in the 1980’s, he also eliminated most of those tax shelters so that the proportion of taxes by the rich was either steady or went up. In fact, the rich are currently paying half the income taxes in this country.
You could confiscate all the income of this country’s millionaires and it still wouldn’t pay for the kind of spending these bozos want. In the end, they will have to tax the middle class because that’s where the money is. Sanders is at least semi-honest in this. His socialized medicine plan includes heavy payroll taxes because the math won’t work otherwise.
But that’s details. The important paint here is how O’Malley thinks. All your money belongs to government. Your income is whatever they allow you to keep. And if you want to keep more of it, you are acting entitled.
I’m willing to debate whether the rich should pay more in taxes. But I’m not willing to countenance that kind of mentality. O’Malley is gunning for Vice President this time around. With two candidates who will be in their 70’s next year, that means he could end up a heartbeat away from the Presidency. His horrifying record in Baltimore and Maryland is reason enough to vote against that. But the revelation of how he thinks closes the deal.